RAMLEH return with The Great Unlearning: four rocking sides with downbeat electronic leanings making a complex and bold follow-up to 2015's Circular Time. Produced by Anthony Di Franco and Gary Mundy and also featuring Philip Best, Stuart Dennision, Sarah Fröelich, and Martyn Watts, The Great Unlearning represents the most complete artistic statement from this incarnation of Ramleh, and possibly of the band's entire career. With their new album, Ramleh map out a vast musical and psychological terrain which they use as a base to simultaneously critique, satirize and ultimately warn against the perilous limits of human megalomania. Recording sessions engineered by Danny Cross and Thom Ashworth. Audio mastering by James Plotkin. Artwork by Jonas Delaborde and Hendrik Hegray. A Broken Flag production for Nashazphone.
All the years combine; they melt into a dream...” I don't know where we may be up to now but I'm fifteen, it's September 1984 and I've taken an absurdly oversized packaged RAMLEH tape into school and the kids are laughing because there is a track called Fistfuck and they are laughing harder and calling me mental when they have a 30 second blast of it on the walkman. Or maybe it's summer 2011 and I'm having an interesting conversation with a Broken Flag recording artist in a field in Oxfordshire but have to leave him as I've promised to be part of a performance of Cornelius Cardew's 'The Great Learning' in ten minutes.
On LP one, in the parallel dimension and the universe next door Hawkwind were even trippier and Throbbing Gristle were even darker than you remembered but sandwiched between them is insect terror music entitled “The Twitch” with a pointed lyric directed at the modern horrors of social media.
And then side three starts with a track that could have been taped off the John Peel show in, perhaps, 1979 and whose title I never knew but it turns out the title is “No Music For These Times”. LP two delves further into the chaos of the 21st century planet and a song like “Your Village Has Been Erased” is just as cheery as it sounds, and there is an even more shocking and distressing example of that insect terror music in “Religious Attack” and it was funny to see the full and very unfriendly titles of the tracks from the mysterious advance Italian remix 12".
RAMLEH never ever give you what you think you want and as such they are one of the very few bands on the planet left in this state of true and always gorgeously sinister and malevolent independence. Quietly watching so many fucking chancers come and go, and it must feel good. The nearest thing to the classic downer psych RAMLEH sound is the beautiful elegiac closing track “Natural Causes”, yet the personal lyrics somehow contradict the state of the globe address that precedes them.
Gary Mundy, Anthony Di Franco, Stuart Dennison, Philip Best, Martyn Watts and Sarah Fröelich. The RAMLEH Family in full effect. If you're going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy. All the years combine; they melt into a dream.
Simon Morris - Blackpool, UK - February 2019
- FUTUREWORLD (18:40)
- THE TWITCH (8:14)
- BLOOD AURORA (10:47)
- NO MUSIC FOR THESE TIMES (4:34)
- RELIGIOUS ATTACK (2:02)
- RACIAL VIOLENCE (11:11)
- YOUR VILLAGE HAS BEEN ERASED (5:20)
- PROCREATION AS AN IMPERIALIST ACT (8:45)
- NATURAL CAUSES (8:24)